Broadcast Flag Supporters Begin Operation Obfuscation

from the say-what? dept

Just when you’d thought that the supporters of the broadcast flag had gone about as far as they could lately when they failed to sneak the broadcast flag into law by adding it as a rider amendment no politician would read, we find out that they’re now taking the argument to the public with bizarre results. Ernest Miller deftly picks apart the odd claim by a broadcast flag supporter that, in saying the FCC had no mandate over the broadcast flag, the courts were harming the emergency alert system. If that sounds totally unrelated, you’re absolutely correct. The stretch (and, boy, is it a stretch) argument, is that the new and improved emergency alert system needs new and advanced technology in TVs — but without the ability to force TV makers to include this new technology, TV makers might not. In other words, we should allow the broadcast flag to pass, because it might impact a totally unrelated issue — when there’s no evidence that the unrelated issue is really facing any problem. Companies could decide to simply support the new emergency alert system because it’s a good idea — having nothing to do with FCC mandates. Either way, the logic is twisted, tying together two entirely separate issues, and making it out as if the broadcast flag has something to do with public safety when it is entirely separate. You almost expect the writer of the article to bring up “the children” that would be saved by this new emergency system. Allow the broadcast flag… for the sake of the children…

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Comments on “Broadcast Flag Supporters Begin Operation Obfuscation”

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Bob Dole says:

The logic is right, the reason is wrong.

The point of the broadcast flag decision was to make the (evil) Hollywood types comfortable enough to produce HDTV content. Remember the flag only applies to digital content. More HDTV content = more people buy HD sets = the sooner the FCC can reclaim analog spectrum = the sooner police and fire departments can have modern radio equipment. So, yes, in a tortured way, the broadcast flag was meant to “save the children.” But not with EAS!

If you’re wondering whether the police/fire radio point is real, read the 9/11 report. Analog TV spectrum is prime and solves a lot of problems, especially with its ability to penetrate walls. This, of course, doesn’t mean FCC has jursidiction over the issue.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: The logic is right, the reason is wrong.

Yes, I’m quite aware of the spectrum issue (have certainly written about it many times)… but, again, that’s really a completely separate issue from the broadcast flag. The broadcast flag doesn’t actually do anything to protect content, other than make it more annoying for legitimate users of the content to watch it as they please.

Whether or not there’s a broadcast flag, broadcasters will eventually offer up their content in digital format, and the FCC will reclaim the necessary spectrum that the broadcasters have been needlessly hoarding for years.

Bob Dole says:

Re: Re: The logic is right, the reason is wrong.

Spectrum is the heart of the issue. The FCC didn’t implement the flag because they thought it would be effective (at they time they called it a “speed bump”), but because CBS threatened to stop broadcasting in HD if it wasn’t implemented. This was no idle threat — it’s not like anyone makes money on HD, they had nothing to lose.

Getting the spectrum back “eventually” isn’t good enough. As one guy put it, the broadcasters would rather “eat their children” than give it back. The one thing that allows the spectrum to be reclaimed immediately is if 85% of the country have digital TV sets.

Consumers got the best of both worlds for once: placated (evil) Hollywood for a time without the flag actually being implemented.

Anonymous of Course says:

Re: Re: Re: The logic is right, the reason is wrong.

TV is a waste of spectrum it should be carried by cable or satellite only. That Free over the air TV is a dinosaur and digital TV is only secure a means to get people to pay. Yes, once over the air TV has gone digital then the means is in place to demand subscription. The brodcast flag is just one step in that direction. It’s not a new idea. I remember pay TV over the air from the 1950’s. It’s all about the money.. of course.

Pussy says:

Re: Re: Re: The logic is right, the reason is wrong.

CBS may threaten to take it’s ball and go home, but it is not actually going to do it. Think. They are not simply going to shut down, and even if they did (I and many others would welcome that) someone else will be happy to jump in, pick up the slack, and bring in the $$$ that the then non-existent CBS gave up.

It’s a non-issue.

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